University Drinking Culture (from a non-drinker perspective) – OurWarwick

University Drinking Culture (from a non-drinker perspective)

One of the most common perceptions about university life is that it involves a lot of partying, and by extension, drinking.

This is, to some extent, true, but it’s a very broad stereotype, one that fits only a single definition of how students might choose to experience university life. Take me for example: I do not drink alcohol, and came to university knowing that I did not intend to. I’ve stuck by that, and do not feel like my university experience has been negatively impacted as a result.

So let’s get candid and break this down…

I’ve found that drinking culture can cause a lot of concern for some students, for various reasons. Those who choose not to drink might worry that it could cause them to be socially ostracised. My answer to this is: if your ‘friends’ don’t accept your choice, it’s worth considering whether you actually want them in your life. There are many reasons people may choose not to drink, including but not limited to health or religious reasons, or simply because they do not like alcohol or just don’t want to drink. All are valid and a good friend will understand this.  

Freshers week is notorious for parties and drinking, and as being the time where you meet loads of people, many of whom you’ll never see again. There may be pressure to drink, but never be afraid to say no. At the start of university, everyone is looking around, trying to find friends. You’re not going to click with everyone, and that’s okay. There are thousands of students at this university, so chances are you’ll find your crowd, even if it takes a little while.

Some groups of friends like to go to the pub every night. Others go clubbing every weekend. Some choose nights in instead. The point being that some friendship groups bond through parties and alcohol, and others through quiet nights in. Some groups may only go out occasionally. The societies I’ve been in have offered a variety of drinking and non-drinking socials, so there’s likely to be something for everyone.

An important thing to remember is that even though your friends might want to drink, you should never feel pressured to do so too if you don’t want to, but nor should it stop you from taking part. For example, I don’t drink, but I have been out clubbing with friends, have gone to bars, pre-drinks and participated in drinking games, all without touching alcohol. I sit with my water and still have fun. My friends understand and respect this, and indeed I know several people who share my stance. Often when playing drinking games, when people reach their alcohol limit, they switch to water instead. The focus is more on having fun. If it wasn’t, I likely wouldn’t participate.

Some people may find that they don’t want to be around alcohol at all, and that is perfectly fine. There is a lot more to socialising at university than drinking.  

And as always, stay healthy. Excessive drinking is, as we all know, bad for you, and moderation is the more sensible choice. Individually, you know your limits, and if not, university is the place to learn them. As the ads say, drink responsibly.

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